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Author Topic: Steampunk Movies & TV  (Read 24080 times)
Jake von Slatt
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« on: February 14, 2007, 08:12:16 pm »

My daughter brought home "Howl's Moving Castle" a couple of weeks ago, it was marvelous!  Lot's of great Steampunk imagery!  "Steam boy" is another good animated feature.

Will Smith's Wild, Wild, West is another obvious example, my family got annoyed with me because I kept pausing it to get a better look at the machines.

For TV, anyone remember Q.E.D, which I've just learned was called "Mastermind" in the U.K. ?  I'm dating myself, aren't I ?

Personally, what I want to see is a new Joss Whedon (Buffy, Firefly) TV series based on Phil & Kaja Foglio's Girl Genius comic.

OK, Who would make a good Agatha?
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Cory
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« Reply #1 on: February 14, 2007, 08:55:23 pm »

I pretty much just finished my master list of the most relevant Steampunk stuff with my history of the genre articles on my site. For my absolute favorites, however...

Georges Melies' A Trip to the Moon, The Impossible Voyage and Conquest of the Pole: These films came so early that they are legitimate entries into the original era of Scientific Romances and Voyages Extraordinaires. And very beautiful, charming and romantic visions they are!

The Adventures of Mark Twain: A really sweetly melancholic, sensitive and suprizingly beautiful Claymation movie about Twain's fateful meeting with Halley's Comet aboard his derigible airship. 

The Mysterious Geographic Explorations of Jasper Morello: I just about died when I watched this thing on YouTube... Sure the plot is pretty much lifted from Alien, but the style and setting is unbelievable.

Jules Verne's Master of the World: This is a fairly guilty pleasure... An old AIP B-movie starring Vincent Price as Robur in a movie that basically plagiarizes Disney's 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea but, save for the bad effects and cheap sets, actually does a better job of it. You really get a sense of how tortured Robur is by his quest to end war by undefeatable power and why his crew is even willing to follow him to the grave for it.

Treasure Planet: Though not expressly Steampunk, I still think that Disney's stunning and imaginative melding of Sci-Fi and 18th century seafaring is grossly, criminally, underrated.

Read-or-Die OVA: Absolutely batshit insane 3-episode anime about the British Library Special Forces trying to rescue a mysterious lost Beethoven symphony from a gang of steamtech-souped-up clones of obscure historical figures.

The Amazing Screw-On Head: Mike Mignola's comic was fantastic, but The Sci-Fi Network's pilot was even better... If it doesn't get picked up as a series, I at least hope that Sci-Fi releases the pilot on DVD.

Escaflowne: Probably my favorite anime, running with or only second to Macross Plus (which was also made by the same creative team), featuring giant gilded robots and Fate Alteration Engines running alongside a discourse on love and fate. 

Galaxy Express 999: This is actually a fairly typical Sci-Fi anime trailing the melancholic coming of age of a young boy as he travels to a distant planet to get a robot body. But in addition to being unbelievably sad most of the time, it also has a steam train that travels through space.

And in the category of "haven't seen yet but know I'll love when I do"...

The Fabulous World of Jules Verne: An engraving from a Jules Verne novel come to life? I've loved the reviews, loved the photos I've seen and loved the brief clips on YouTube... How could I not love the movie itself? 

I'm also keen on seeing The City of Lost Children and A Gentlemen's Duel.
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Andy_W
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« Reply #2 on: February 14, 2007, 09:48:20 pm »

Q.E.D. yeah we got that in the Uk

But what i loved as a kid was the Great Egg Race where teams of boffins would construct all manner of devices to convey an egg down a course. I think it was who ever did it the fastest won. I also seem to recall differing classes of vehicles- Giant wheels and dragsters.
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Tinkergirl
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« Reply #3 on: February 14, 2007, 09:57:14 pm »

Um, Mastermind in the UK was a very serious seeming quiz program with Magnus Magnusson quizzing people on their specialist subjects while they sat in a big black leather chair.  "I've started so I'll finish..."  Are we talking about the same thing?

As for who would play Agatha - no idea!  Reality (or Hollywood at least) doesn't make people that shape *chuckles*  You'd be looking for a young, very curvy lady who can wear a pair of glasses well.  Curvy doesn't seem to be in fashion, alas.  Did you have someone in mind, Mr Von Slatt?

Cory - I too loved Treasure Planet - it was really good fun and quite beautiful in places.  That, and the fact they say that the ships are sailing the Etherium.  *Grins.*
I also rather liked Atlantis: The Lost Empire - probably because the characters were fun.  (I'll always want to know about Mole - I'm just someone who can't help but WANT to know.)  It didn't have the same epic majesty as some other films, but it was one that I wanted to learn more about - I wanted to explore that world more.
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Josh of Vernian Process
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« Reply #4 on: February 14, 2007, 10:31:58 pm »

If you thought Howl's Moving Castle had Steampunk elements.. you simpply must watch Miyazaki's older material. Particularly "Laputa: Castle in the Sky".

It is (by my definition) the ultimate Steampunk animated feature film.

I too thought that Atlantis and Treasure Planet were unjustly panned. Both films were great fun. I just wish Atlantis wer elonger, so they could have tied up more of the story, and not had to rush it so much.

Oh and Cory!!! You haven't seen City of Lost Children yet!!!??? It isn't exactly Steampunk, more like WWI era Pulp, mixed with lots of urban decay and mad science. All quite beautiful however, and Ron Pearlman's in it, so it's a must see!

My daughter brought home "Howl's Moving Castle" a couple of weeks ago, it was marvelous!  Lot's of great Steampunk imagery!  "Steam boy" is another good animated feature.

Will Smith's Wild, Wild, West is another obvious example, my family got annoyed with me because I kept pausing it to get a better look at the machines.

For TV, anyone remember Q.E.D, which I've just learned was called "Mastermind" in the U.K. ?  I'm dating myself, aren't I ?

Personally, what I want to see is a new Joss Whedon (Buffy, Firefly) TV series based on Phil & Kaja Foglio's Girl Genius comic.

OK, Who would make a good Agatha?
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Cory
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« Reply #5 on: February 14, 2007, 10:33:31 pm »

(I'll always want to know about Mole - I'm just someone who can't help but WANT to know.) 

You don't wanna' know. And don't anybody tell her. Someone told me and now I wish is didn't know. So I'm tellin' you, you don't wanna' know.

^_^

Quote
It didn't have the same epic majesty as some other films, but it was one that I wanted to learn more about - I wanted to explore that world more.

It looks like Disney initially planned on it with a whole TV series, but decided not to. What they did make was cobbled together into that awful Atlantis: Milo's Return OVA which does add some more depth but not in a particularly interesting way. The best segment was the first, with a Lovecraftian Kraken straight out of Mike Mignola's work.
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Tinkergirl
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« Reply #6 on: February 14, 2007, 10:39:36 pm »

But... I must know!!   *bites knuckles*

Ah, a direct to video job with the 'sequel' then?  Shame about the TV series - that could have been a lot of fun (TV can fit so much more backstory in over a series than a film).

Laputa did have some good Steampunk in it - the usual Miazaki obsession with flying things (its a theme of his, it seems) - it opens on a large passenger airship, and a rather funky steam train chase.

That, and it always made me want to have a soup canteen like they had down the mine in Laputa - so I could make some kind of Steampunk soup (no, I'm not sure what would be in it yet) with dumplings.

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Andy_W
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« Reply #7 on: February 14, 2007, 10:41:44 pm »

 Cog croutons! Grin
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Josh of Vernian Process
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« Reply #8 on: February 14, 2007, 10:54:43 pm »

I want to know too!!

Ok I guess I'm biased as a Ghibliphile, but I think EVERYTHING in Laputa is Steampunk. From the mining town of Slag Ravine, to the numerous Airships, to the Empires Coastal Castle, to the Tigermoth and it's Air Pirate crew, to The fantastic Military Train, to  the costume and set design, everthing. Except Laputa it self... that felt more like an Atlantean creation, some highly evolved, and intelligent civilizations ruins.

But... I must know!!   *bites knuckles*

Ah, a direct to video job with the 'sequel' then?  Shame about the TV series - that could have been a lot of fun (TV can fit so much more backstory in over a series than a film).

Laputa did have some good Steampunk in it - the usual Miazaki obsession with flying things (its a theme of his, it seems) - it opens on a large passenger airship, and a rather funky steam train chase.

That, and it always made me want to have a soup canteen like they had down the mine in Laputa - so I could make some kind of Steampunk soup (no, I'm not sure what would be in it yet) with dumplings.


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Jake von Slatt
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« Reply #9 on: February 14, 2007, 11:44:31 pm »

"Laputa: Castle in the Sky"

Oh yes! forgot that one!

VP's comment about a steam train travelling though space put me in mind of a book I read years ago that has stuck with me and has the requisite elements to be called Steampunk:

http://www.amazon.com/Shadow-Ship-Robert-Franson/dp/0345306880

Oh, and that reminds me of a really fun book that' not at all Steampunk:

http://www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/d/john-dechancie/starrigger.htm

As for who could play Agatha - I didn't have anyone in mind . . . thinking, thinking . . .

Jake.
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Cory
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« Reply #10 on: February 15, 2007, 12:05:09 am »

Ah, a direct to video job with the 'sequel' then?  Shame about the TV series - that could have been a lot of fun (TV can fit so much more backstory in over a series than a film).

Well, the animation would have sucked mightily, if the video was any indication. But then the animation pretty much blew on The Legend of Tarzan series too. At least its saving grace was putting a lot of Burroughs stuff in it like Pellucidar and Opar.
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Josh of Vernian Process
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« Reply #11 on: February 15, 2007, 12:13:22 am »

My god.. Jasper Morello was amazing!!!

I just watched it about ten minutes ago. I don't know why I didn't set the 30 minutes aside before to watch it?

It was so creepy too. Proving once again that Steampunk and Gothic Horror can easily coincide. There was this total Lovecraft vibe I was getting throughout the film. In fact it was really strange, because they utilized any idea I had for the Steampunk video game I've been developing for the past 15 years. That of a ghost airship!!
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Tinkergirl
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« Reply #12 on: February 15, 2007, 12:16:49 am »

Meep!  Spoilers??   Lips sealed

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Josh of Vernian Process
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« Reply #13 on: February 15, 2007, 12:44:02 am »

Oh sorry I thought I was the last steampunk fan on earth to have seen it?

It wasn't really a spoiler anyways, they find the airship right near the beginning. I believe the horror aspect is also advertised in their marketing of the film.
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Jake von Slatt
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« Reply #14 on: February 15, 2007, 02:49:21 am »

How about Jerry Ryan (Star Trek's Seven-of-Nine) for Agatha:

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Cory
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« Reply #15 on: February 15, 2007, 02:59:29 am »

Yeah, don't worry about spoilers... He didn't give away anything important!

And yeah, Jasper Morello is amazing! Easily one of the best Steampunk things out there.

But then, my list of favorites is dominated by films that aesthetically interesting or otherwise distinguished. While there's nothing wrong with a movie that just plops a period piece of Victorian mad innvention in front of you (see: Disney's 20K), there is so much more that can be done with it. A Trip to the Moon, Fabulous World of Jules Verne, Adventures of Mark Twain, Treasure Planet, Screw-On Head and Jasper Morello are artistic tours de force as well. 
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Jake von Slatt
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« Reply #16 on: February 15, 2007, 10:55:44 pm »

Um, Mastermind in the UK was a very serious seeming quiz program with Magnus Magnusson quizzing people on their specialist subjects while they sat in a big black leather chair.  "I've started so I'll finish..."  Are we talking about the same thing?


No, but I do remember Dr. Magnusson!  I saw his show on my very first narrow boat vacation with my parents, we did the midlands ring and cruised through the backside of Birmingham (this was in the 70's) that was a Steampunk Noir experience!

Mastermind ( Q.E.D. in the States) started Sam Waterston - http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/mastermind_target_london/
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Tinkergirl
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« Reply #17 on: February 15, 2007, 11:18:18 pm »

Ah yes - more canal in Birmingham than all of Venice!  Though, I'm sure far less romantic *chuckles*
Have you heard of the Falkirk Wheel?  A peculiar contraption built to join the two main canals in Scotland (think like a tiny Panama canal).
http://www.thefalkirkwheel.co.uk/content/TFW_Section/index.asp?ID=1

As for films (and I hope to post this on BG tomorrow) has anyone heard any more about this?
http://www.themovieinsider.com/movies/mid/3500/20000_Leagues_Under_the_Sea
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Jake von Slatt
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« Reply #18 on: February 16, 2007, 12:08:59 am »

My dear TinkerGirl,

I've ridden the Falkirk Wheel!  I've just written about it in new thread I called "Steampunk Vacations"

Jake.
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« Reply #19 on: February 16, 2007, 07:36:44 pm »

How can steampunk and anime be mentioned in the same sentence without someone bringing up Steamboy?! It's Otomo's first feature length film since he dominated the anime scene for a decade with Akira.

Mizayaki is totally steampunk...but with an elegant fantasy element to it. You can definitely see how his work has influence all other Japanese fantasy, in particular the Final Fantasy series.
I loved the ship and vehicle designs in Nausicaa.

City of Lost Children was a great movie. My favorite scene is probably the most unappreciated in the entire film. It's the slow pan over the siamese sisters as they iron and fold laundry, passing equipment, clothing and a cigarette between thier 4 hands. If you watch closely, you'll notice one of the sisters inhale off the cigarette and the other exhale. It's a brilliant piece of orchestration.

ok lunchtime's almost up, time to get back to the acid mine.
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Josh of Vernian Process
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« Reply #20 on: February 16, 2007, 07:44:19 pm »

Steamboy should be a given (where do you think I got most of the steam engine samples in my project? lol)

Oh and I was totally thinking about how Final Fantasy was inspired by Miyazaki the other day too. Especially the Chocobos!!
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« Reply #21 on: February 16, 2007, 11:36:15 pm »

If you can get your hands on the DVD, there's an EXCELLENT documentary in the special features about Studio Ghibli.

The Chocobo Song kicks ass too. It's always been one of my favorites. Remember the surf rock version in...FF8 I think?
Yeah definitely though, the Chocobos, the Mogs, and that one Cat character....Cait Sith? He looks like he was pulled straight out of My Neighbor Totoro. Even that whole "Elven" sort of feel that all the armor and weapons have...straight Miyazaki.
You could also argue a lot of thematic similarities as well, but i think that may be related to the more general psychological reaction of all Japanese to Fat Man (Hiroshima) and Little Boy (Nagasaki). There's the whole Tower-of-Babel-ish "man trying to wield a power greater than himself....inevitable destruction ensues" theme, like Steamboy, Akira, Metropolis, Nausicaa etc ad infinitum.....and almost as common.... the "man or mankind loses his/their way and is saved by the power of love, the unconquerable X factor that makes all humanity special" theme.
Still...Miyazaki can do no wrong in my eyes.
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Josh of Vernian Process
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« Reply #22 on: February 17, 2007, 01:07:57 am »

That's a very good point. I also agree that Ghibli can do no wrong lol.

Oh and is that the Steamboy DVD that has a special feature about Ghibli??!! Because I have that DVD, and haven't seen anything about Ghibli on it =(
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« Reply #23 on: February 17, 2007, 01:45:18 am »

Dh, duh.
Sorry im retarded. The fingers work faster than the brain sometimes.

I meant Nausicaa, but it might be on all of the newer Ghibli DVD releases.

Steamboy is Katsuhiro Otomo, who has nothing to do with Studio Ghibli. In fact, I don't even think Otomo has a production company, he just formed "committees" for each one.
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Josh of Vernian Process
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« Reply #24 on: February 17, 2007, 03:14:34 am »

Oh, ok no prob. In that case, yes I have seen it. Because I do own Nausicaa on DVD.
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